26 February 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Collectibles

Hardcover? Or paperback?
Illustrations? Or just text?
First editions? Or you don’t care?
Signed by the author? Or not?

My attitude here can be summed up in a single word: Whatever. If it has a cover that’s not too ugly and a full complement of pages, and it’s affordable, I’m happy. And if it’s not on the verge of falling apart, though I have gotten good at patching up tattered spines. That being said, while hardbacks can be nice to look at I do prefer paperbacks (the small ones, not trade) simply for portability.

I love pictures in non-fiction books; they’re one of the first things I look for and I often refer to them while reading. In fiction, though, the only kind of illustration I care about is maps. I just finished Robert Harris’s Pompeii and the absence of a map drove me nuts - I ended up drawing my own from ones on the net. It’s always nice to be able to get my head around the geography of the place I’m vicariously inhabiting.

As for first editions and signatures - I’m not an autograph hunter, and these are things it wouldn’t even occur to me to look for.


  1. I don't really care about authors' signatures either. But I love illustrations in all books - I even like novels to have a few pictures.

  2. I like the bigger paperbacks than the smaller ones because the smaller ones' type is too small that it strains my eyes.

  3. jlshall: You know, I don't think I've got a single illustrated novel on my shelves!

    Claire: That's the upside to being shortsighted - even the smallest type is crystal clear. The objects on the other side of the room, however...

  4. Affordable is a good principle, I think. If I can buy three second-hand novels for 100 kroner (£ 12-13), I don´t mind ugly covers or yellowed pages :)
    Besides, I feel less guilty that I didn´t spend my money on milk and potatoes if I feel I made a bargain.


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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776